Stockbroker Nicholas Levene used £32million Ponzi-scheme fraud to fund extravagant lifestyle - Crime - UK - The Independent

Stockbroker Nicholas Levene used £32million Ponzi-scheme fraud to fund extravagant lifestyle

 

Even for a man with more than £300m to burn, stockbroker Nicholas Levene’s life was marked by years of staggering excess.

The gambling addict thought little of blowing £720,000 in a bet on a cricket match, and he hired the girl band The Saturdays for a London party. The one problem: the money wasn’t his.

Levene was today jailed for 13 years for running an elaborate Ponzi scheme which defrauded celebrities and wealthy investors to fund his lifestyle of high-performance cars, yachts, holidays that lasted for months, and properties in Britain and abroad.

Even his father, an electrician, said that he was addicted to “monster greed” with a lifestyle beyond comprehension.

That lifestyle was funded by £316m he had raked in from investors included Richard Caring, the owner of the Ivy and Le Caprice restaurants in London’s West End, and Sir Brian Souter and his sister Ann Gloag, the founders of the Stagecoach travel group.

Levene, a father-of-three, offered seemingly concrete investment deals in companies such as HSBC, Lloyds TSB, and the mining companies Xstrata and Rio Tinto. But he failed to invest money paid to him, shifting it between bank accounts in Jersey, Switzerland and Israel and paying it out to investors to keep them quiet, Southwark Crown Court, south London, was told.

Meanwhile, he spent massive amounts on school fees, spread betting and his insatiable taste for luxury. He lost £32m, but taking into account customers’ lost profits the total rose to more than £100m.

In 2009, as his web of lies got more and more complex, he appeared to forget which deals he had promised to set up for clients and had to ask them to confirm where their money was and how much they were expecting back.

Levene, nicknamed “Beano” because of his childhood love of the comic, had built up strong contacts from a spell as a successful City worker and had an estimated fortune of up to £20m in 2005.

Sir Brian and Mrs Gloag gave him £5m in 2009 to invest in Xstrata shares. But Levene spread the money around his various accounts and used it to repay various clients. The Stagecoach bosses later gave Levene a further £2.5m to invest. In August 2009 he went to see Ms Gloag to confess he had not invested the money but had spent it on spread betting.

Andrew Edis, QC, prosecuting, said: “He appeared at a loss to understand why Mrs Gloag was pursuing action against him and asked if it would make her feel better if he was put behind bars. He later confessed to Mr Souter to having gambling and personal problems.”

Levene admitted one count of false accounting, one of obtaining a money transfer by deception, and 12 counts of fraud.

The broker...and his victims

Nicholas Levene

Total losses: £32m

Richard Caring, Restaurateur

Invested: £10m

Sir Brian Souter, Founder of Stagecoach

Invested: £7.5m  (with sister Ann Gloag)

 

 

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week